Food & Drink

  • Best Restaurant

    Old Vine Café

    Other restaurants might ultimately impress more at any given moment. Most have better locations. But as a sunrise-to-nighttime experience, no local eatery can hold a gourmet blowtorch to Old Vine Café. The delights begin with a faithfulness to organic ingredients, whether it's artisanal Spanish sausages or produce bought from San Clemente-based Morningsong Farms. From this base, chef Mark McDonald creates… More >>
  • Best Service In a Restaurant

    Andrea

    Say what you want about Donald Bren's Irvine Co., but it sure knows how to train its employees. The service at Andrea in the Pelican Hill Resort borders on obsessive. The minute you step out of your vehicle and hand your keys to the valet, you're treated like you are Bren himself. The valet will retrieve your coat from the… More >>
  • Best Picture of a Living Goddess to Make Your Wonderful Meal That Much Tastier

    Sophia Loren, Rufino's Ristorante Italiano

    Rufino's has specialized in heft since 1967: noodles spilling off massive plates, soups almost solid due to the bevy of goodies soaking up the broth, dishes that inspire too many bad mafia jokes. Making your meal that much tastier is a giant photo of Sophia Loren near the entrance, hung without irony and for the simple reason that, in her… More >>
  • Best Restaurant Décor

    Don the Beachcomber

    This joint on Pacific Coast Highway is famous for its swordfish-shaped neon sign and entryway that resembles that of a South Pacific longhouse. It was once Sam's Seafood, and then it changed ownership and became Kona. Now, it's changed its name again. But the interior décor has remained constant, looking like something off a Bob Hope movie set in Honolulu… More >>
  • Best Waterfront Dining

    The Dock

    The most appropriate way to arrive at the Dock is by Duffy boat. And if you're lucky enough to live on the Balboa Peninsula, you probably are already in possession of one. Park it at the restaurant's, um, dock and greet your neighbors, who will already be waiting for you. The Dock is, above all, a secret, insular neighborhood joint… More >>
  • Best Romantic Restaurant

    Basilic Restaurant

    You can take a date to an expensive restaurant with wide booths, grand entryways and a twinkling nighttime view of the city; or you can take that special someone to Basilic, a restaurant so cozy you are required—nay, forced—to get intimately familiar with each other and chef Bernard Althaus' immaculate French/Swiss cuisine. With what seems like the square footage of… More >>
  • Best New Restaurant

    At Last Café

    There are gems we'd rather keep to ourselves, simply because these Best Of lists tend to make seats scant and reservations impossible. This is especially true of At Last Café, which only has enough room to seat about 20 people, tops. And trust us when we say you want one of these seats. Chef/owner John McLaughlin is nigh-legendary for being… More >>
  • Best Restaurant When Someone Else Is Paying

    Onotria

    With a menu as beautiful as chef Massimo's creation for Onotria, it's best to go "soup to nuts"—which means trying every course from appetizer to dessert. Maybe start with some creamy lobster and market fish chowder, then some steamed asparagus with barrel-aged Cheddar and black-truffle sauce. Next, perhaps a mallard duck breast with fresh herbs and a Santa Rosa plum… More >>
  • Best Outdoor Dining

    Habana Restaurant

    This restaurant features your standard Cuban fare—everything from succulent mango pulled pork to plantain-crusted chicken sandwiches—and more gourmet offerings such as osso bucco, but the best stuff on the menu are the drinks. Whether you prefer a white sangria or a mojito or a crisp Stella Artois from the fully stocked bar inside, there's no better place to drain them… More >>
  • Best Restaurant to Take the Kids

    The Pike

    Not to be confused with that taxpayer-subsidized, almost-always-barren-of-tourists monstrosity known as the Pike in Rainbow Harbor, Long Beach's the Pike is a bar and grill owned by Chris Reece, drummer of the famed SoCal punk band Social Distortion. Located on Fourth Street near the Art Theater in the town's hip vintage-boutiques district, the restaurant features a weird mix of nautical… More >>
  • Best Late-Night Dining

    Beach Cities Pizza

    The venerated harbor eatery with hilariously ugly '80s beach murals and peanut-ginger-chicken pies went 24/7 this year. Some locals don't even bother with the excellent, diverse pizza menu because there's no better 1 a.m. drunk food than a basket of Beach Cities' puffy, steaming breadsticks (nothing stick-like about them, though) drenched in the joint's homemade ranch sauce. Order a pitcher… More >>
  • Best Breakfast

    Mel's Diner

    Nearly lost in a Fountain Valley strip mall, Mel's Diner is more buried treasure than greasy spoon—if you can find it, good things await you. But in the quest for the perfect biscuits and gravy, Mel's is a bona-fide champion. Fresh, fluffy biscuits topped with smoky sausage perfectly cooked (just a little crisp around the edges), and everything's smothered with… More >>
  • Best Brewery

    Newport Beach Brewing Co.

    Any brewery with its city's name in the title needs to do two things: attract locals, and get them drunk. That's what happens at Newport Beach Brewing Co., where the bros and bro-ettes of the county's glitziest burg congregate either before or instead of a night in the clubs at the tip of the peninsula. But unlike so much in… More >>
  • Best New Wine Bar With Occasional Beer Tastings As a Bonus

    4th Street Vine

    There's nothing more pleasant than drinking a glass of wine at a wine bar owned by people who refuse to be palate snobs. Said experience becomes even better when said owners are driven to generating old-school community (think pre-Facebook) the old-fashioned way: by hosting art openings, Sunday mimosa (and occasional sangria) specials, Thursday $3 wine nights and exotic Belgium beer… More >>
  • Best Seafood Restaurant

    The Boiling Crab

    Of all the food trends to hit OC in the past decade, the Vietnamese Cajun-crawfish restaurant has to be most underappreciated. We don't know about you, but we've become inured to all those frozen-yogurt shops. But the crawfish craze? We're still living it. And it's because of one place: the Boiling Crab. People endure waiting in line for hours, for… More >>
  • Best Vegetarian/Vegan Restaurant

    The Veggie Grill

    The true success of a vegetarian restaurant is if you can forget you are eating at a vegetarian restaurant. Self-deception is a driving factor, if not the regrettable fact that you're usually doing it in the service of your doctor, the environment or that cute hippie you are trying to impress. Flavor and satisfaction become secondary when you know you… More >>
  • Best Bang for Your Booty

    Pirate's Dinner Adventure

    Located just across the street from Medieval Times, this mammoth amphitheater-style restaurant features a life-size pirate ship with full rigging surrounded by a moat of water. The food is on the bland side—would you like chicken with beef or chicken with shrimp? Both go great with Bud Light—but if you are under eight years of age, have a child who… More >>
  • Best Diner

    Jongewaard's Bake-n-Broil

    If Martha Stewart and Norman Rockwell brainstormed an American diner, Jongewaard's Bake-n-Broil would be the result. Pretty and prim like the stuff in her catalog, but classically American like his paintings, Jongewaard is everything you'd want in a diner. The lunch counter is the preferred place to sit, especially because it is within sniffing distance of the pies. Wrap your… More >>
  • Best Coffeehouse

    The Lost Bean

    There's just something organic about the Lost Bean's existence in its Tustin neighborhood mini-mall, and it's not the organic coffee, organic tea and organic water (we're not making that last one up). This anti-Starbucks really seems like it grew out of the ground, one-with-the-Earth, like one of the hobbit holes in Lord of the Rings. Take a seat on their… More >>
  • Best Place to Feel Fat for Cheap

    Royal Donuts

    A hamburger combo meal will set you back $6.15 at this aging snackbar-looking joint, but it'll be the last $6.15 you'll have to spend for a while. The burger—greasy, generous, hot—is standard independent fast-food fare, and the combo includes a soda and a large order of steak-cut fries. The glorious kicker: nearly any kind of donut you want. Choose that… More >>
  • Best Sunday Brunch

    Omelette Parlor - CLOSED

    Although it doesn't offer a specific brunch menu, Costa Mesa's Omelette Parlor wins this category just the same. As any true local will tell you, on Sunday or any other day, it's that rare treasure: a breakfast joint that's open well into the afternoon (3 p.m.), where you can order the fluffiest omelets accompanied by the heartiest breakfast potatoes north… More >>
  • Best Bottomless Mimosas

    212 Bistro

    There's always a catch, right? Overpriced, a lot of OJ, a time limit, really cheap champagne—something. The bottomless mimosa is such a rarity these days that to see it is on a menu is to not actually believe it's real. But at 212 Bistro, where an affordable Sunday brunch is served up gourmet, the mimosas that complement their tasty fusions… More >>
  • Best Mexican Restaurant

    Las Brisas de Apatzingan

    This SanTana dive should also get an award for most beautiful restaurant name (the Breezes of Apatzingan, a beautiful colonial-era town in the Mexican state of Michoacán), but let's focus on the food: specialties from its hometown state that you can only find in this restaurant and households. Novelty alone isn't enough to impress, of course: The huchepos (small tamales… More >>
  • Best Italian Restaurant

    Cafe Piccolo

    Cafe Piccolo is an Italian restaurant in name, and it does offer plenty of familiar Italian specialties—but not spaghetti or meatballs. The owner is Persian-born. The dining areas are lit like it's perennially Christmas. And in the food, you'll find Thai nam prik, Spanish salsa and tequila. Gay-friendly and romantic for all, there is an outdoor patio with a trickling… More >>
  • Best Indian Restaurant

    Tandoor Cuisine of India

    You've been to Indian buffets, but have you been to Tandoor? The trays are crammed with a variety as staggering as the population of Mumbai. Behold silken gravies of different shades and spicing intensities, from a harmless tikka masala to a blazing vindaloo. The waiters in this airy, L-shaped room fulfill their near-pathological need to continually replenish every table's basket… More >>
  • Best Japanese Restaurant

    Café Hiro

    There are as many subgenres of Japanese restaurants as there are kinds of Japanese food: izakayas, sushi bars, teppanyakis, yakinikus, ramenyas—and that's just naming a few! Then there's Café Hiro, a 7-year-old local anomaly that not only defies classification, but also rises above them. The only thing you need to know is that chef/owner Hiro Ohiwa trained in France and… More >>
  • Best Chinese Restaurant

    King Lobster Palace

    You could take the 57 north, then the 60 west to the San Gabriel Valley to eat in Chinese-food mecca, or you could go to Orange, where you can feast like those suckers who made the hour-long trek. Here, King Lobster's signature dish, the House Special Lobster, outdoes even the grandest seafood temple on Valley Boulevard. It will be the… More >>
  • Best Thai Restaurant

    Siam Taste of Asia

    Never has a restaurant received so much goodwill for such stunning food yet remained so perpetually desolate, but that's the sad story of this strip-mall Thai treasure. A phenomenon of Yelp, Chowhound and Orange County foodie circles, Siam Taste of Asia distinguishes itself from the giants of local Thai food (Win Thai, Bangkok Taste, Thai Nakorn) by an owner so… More >>
  • Best Use of a Portmanteau

    Cambinos Asian BBQ

    The name is a combination of Cambodian and Filipino, after the Cambodian owner and his Filipina wife. But any conclusions you might infer from this knowledge would be wrong; Cambinos Asian BBQ is neither a Cambodian nor a Filipino restaurant. It serves what can only be classified as backyard barbecue, the kind of grub common to all Asian family reunions,… More >>
  • Best Vietnamese Restaurant

    Oh! Me Ly - CLOSED

    Little Saigon-area restaurants aren't always known for cleanliness, warm settings and pleasant waiters. Yet those less-than-alluring-establishments offer some of the tastiest Vietnamese food. We're elated to report that Oh! Me Ly is a place that combines colorful aesthetic charm and culinary delights. Located just a few miles from the center of Little Saigon, this restaurant has been a relatively hidden… More >>
  • Best Vietnamese Restaurant Not In Little Saigon

    Benley: A Vietnamese Kitchen

    No self-respecting Vietnamese or anyone with even remedial knowledge of Little Saigon would ever pay $8.95 for a bowl of pho. And we don't suggest you do so, either, even if Benley is the restaurant offering it. But that doesn't mean we don't love this place. Cut from the same culinary cloth as LA's Crustacean and San Francisco's Slanted Door,… More >>
  • Best Middle Eastern Restaurant

    Kareem's Restaurant

    You can spend years visiting this tiny Little Arabia institution and only ordering a falafel pita, and those would be years well-spent—owners Mike and Nancy Hawari's legendary take on the Levant staple brings in people from across California, all patiently waiting for weighty chickpea orbs fried dark-brown on the outside but lawn-green within, simultaneously fragrant, chewy and crunchy, the finest… More >>
  • Best Culinary Bring-It-On

    El Pollo Loco's Anti-KFC TV Ads

    The Crazy Chicken is the rare fast-food ethnic chain with legitimate roots: It was started in Mexico by Mexicans before taking its charbroiled bird to Americans. So you can imagine its anger when fried-chicken behemoth KFC began selling grilled chicken. And when the going got tough, these Costa Mesa-based mothercluckers got snarky. Out went the commercials with a lousy Latin… More >>
  • Best Location for a Fast-Food Restaurant

    Flame Broiler at the Lakes

    A waterfall is a waterfall, even if it's an artificial one. At the Lakes across from South Coast Plaza, it cascades, gurgles and soothes as it flows into a man-made lake shaded by transplanted trees. Above you, palm fronds rustle. A warm breeze kisses the water, which ripples from the touch. Enjoyed in this hidden suburban oasis, that ordinary fast-food… More >>
  • Best Juice Bar

    Mil Jugos

    Despite its name, this cozy joint near the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse serves only 22 fantastic varieties of blended tropical drinks, not 1,000. But never has a two-digit number seemed so infinite. There's everything from apple and orange to passion fruit, mango and tamarind. It's the perfect thing to drink while gorging yourself on the restaurant's fine selection of Venezuelan… More >>
  • Best Farmers' Market

    Long Beach Southeast Farmers' Market

    That's the formal name; you might know it better as just "the farmers' market at Alamitos Bay Marina." If you live in LBC, H.B., S.B., the other S.B., or an even-farther-afield acronymic community, this is your Sunday source for all things farmers'-markety. (Harbor Area Farmers' Markets runs this one and as many as four other markets each week, depending upon… More >>
  • Best Fish Market

    Bear Flag Fish Co.

    This trendy market in Newport Beach's Balboa Peninsula offers a wide array of fresh fish—everything from yellowtail, mahi mahi and opah to thresher shark, ling cod and catfish—as well as a healthy assortment of shellfish. It's also a great place for a seafood lunch, especially if you're in the mood for ceviche or a trio of fish tacos. There are… More >>
  • Best Deli

    Mattern Sausage and Meats

    Going to Mattern is akin to taking a trip to Bavaria while reaffirming all of your previous assumptions about the quality of German meat, i.e., it's delicious and there's a lot of it. The owners are immigrants from Germany, and they make their own sausage, something you can definitely taste. But before you start salivating over the varieties of deli… More >>
  • Best Bakery

    85°C Bakery Cafe

    By the time you read this, the 85°C Bakery Café bakery in Irvine will have been open almost a year. But the lines? They'll look exactly like they have since Day One. Newcomers will wonder, "What is it with these people? Have they never seen a bakery before?" Yes, but not like this. Crusts crackle at their most optimal; rolls… More >>
  • Best Bread

    Sangak at Wholesome Choice

    Four feet of burnt, chewy, warm Persian flatbread for less than $3. Only problem: The wait is usually half an hour. Mitigating factor: Persian women are hot.… More >>
  • Best Homemade Pastries

    Crema Café

    There's nothing better than walking up to a café and catching a whiff of butter and cinnamon. It's the smell of things fresh and baking, and that's what you smell when you stroll up to Crema Café. There are other things going on—eggs, foamy lattes, Belgian waffles, paninis—but it's the sweet, sugary, warm, homemade pastries and the crepes that pull… More >>
  • Best Bagels

    Krazy Eddy's Donut Shop

    Bagels don't need to leave you in a carb coma, and Krazy Eddy realizes this. His are thinner than the average bagel and toasted to leave the outside crispy and the innards soft. The ingredients pop: The jalapeño bagel is actually spicy, the sesame-seed bagel actually flavorful. And most topping combos—try the heaping, green mountain that is the avocado special—come… More >>
  • Best French Toast

    Brie and Strawberry French Toast at Renaissance Bistro - CLOSED

    Brunch menus can be so dull, what with the same old eggs Benedict and short stacks being thrown around at every restaurant, but Renaissance Bistro offers something spectacular to break up the monotony: brie-and-strawberry French toast. Delicious crostinis are battered in whipped egg, then placed on the grill, with Brie spread like butter between two pieces. After being grilled, this… More >>
  • Best Salad

    Old Vine Café's Caprese of Mozarella Buratta

    In case you didn't know, Buratta is a mixture of buffalo mozzarella and cream that tastes like butter. At Old Vine Café, the buratta is mixed with arugula that's been flash-fried in citrus-infused olive oil and served with grape tomatoes. At $14 per plate, it's not cheap—it even ties for the most expensive item on the menu—but its a rare… More >>
  • Best Fish and Chips

    The Chippy Fish & Chips

    You'd think it would be easy enough to find a fish-and-chip joint that uses real fish, not that cubed, reformed stuff sold by Sysco. But you'd be wrong. That's why the Chippy Fish & Chips is special. This fast-food stall, located in a food court a short walk from John Wayne airport, starts with the real stuff: hand-cut fish fillets… More >>
  • Best Sushi

    Sushi Shibucho

    It is a fact that personal relationships develop between every sushi-lover and his or her preferred itamae (sushi chef). Because of this, this category becomes a very subjective one: Everyone has his or her favorite sushi joint. But if we had to pick simply based on the scarcity of bar seats, it would have to be Sushi Shibucho. Tradition rules… More >>
  • Best Mole Poblano

    Mario's Restaurant

    Both locations of this family-friendly eatery are probably best known for their happy-hour drink specials and stomach-stretching, perhaps overly cheesy dinner platters. A hidden delight, buried deep inside the menu, is the mole poblano, a delicious plate of shredded chicken breast drizzled in the rich, complex, chocolate-and-chile-infused sauce. The best way to eat this Old Mexico delicacy? Order the meal… More >>
  • Best Fish with Nuts

    Pecan-Crusted Salmon at Café Hidalgo

    There are some dishes you experience whose taste lingers with you for days. The pecan-crusted salmon ($20.95) at Café Hidalgo is one of them. This thick fillet of salmon is bathed in a honey-dijon sauce that tastes almost caramelized, then it's topped with crushed pecans and served with mashed potatoes or rice and steamed vegetables. It melts in your mouth.… More >>
  • Best Persian Koobideh Kebab

    The Orchid Restaurant

    There has to be a secret to the tastiest of koobideh kebabs. The plump, handmade Persian morsels are a mixture of minced meat (chicken, beef or lamb), onions, parsley and spices, which doesn't seem so complicated. But it must be, especially if the succulent bobbing little bits of meat that emerge from the fire are anything like the smattering of… More >>
  • Best Ketchup

    Chapman University Cafeteria

    The semi-refrigerated Heinz ketchup at the cafeteria in the university's Argyros Forum is so delicious you'll want to take it home with you. Just ask convicted condiment thief and ex-Orange Unified School District Trustee Steve Rocco!… More >>
  • Best Pho

    828 Pho

    You'll appreciate the pho at 828, a little Vietnamese gem that within the past year opened its doors in Santa Ana—far from the heart of Little Saigon. Luckily for us—and for Santa Ana (where pho sightings are rare)—828 delivers heartily. The chicken pho here is light, brothy and fresh. The only downside is no dark meat, something that is becoming… More >>
  • Best Vietnamese Spring Rolls

    Vietnam Pearl

    Available prepackaged for a quick snack or light lunch, the shrimp-only, shrimp-and-pork or tofu-only rolls at Vietnam Pearl are a steal. Because the owners here don't skimp on any of the complementary elements —the requisite cilantro, basil or mint sprigs wedged neatly beside vermicelli noodles, or crunchy, translucent sprouts peeking out alongside pieces of fresh lettuce—the result is a hearty,… More >>
  • Best Use of Lava

    Chong Qing Mei Wei

    More than Sri Lankan black curry, more than a torta ahogada, even more than habanero salsa chugged from a shot glass, the spiciest dish ever to grace Orange County is the pork spareribs offered at Chong Qing Mei Wei. So many dried, gnarled red chiles adorn the dish that it looks as if someone exploded a red party popper over… More >>
  • Best Dosa

    The Mysore Masala Dosa at Dosa Place

    Like the rest of the 18 dosas on the menu, this chutney-and-potato-filled delicacy doesn't even come close to fitting on the plate its served upon. Each flaky corner of the oversized rice-and-lentil pancake juts a good three or four inches off the side. It's served with a small bowl of peppery vegetable soup, which nicely complements the dosa's curry-flavor filling,… More >>
  • Best Hamburger

    Mesa

    You're going to pay a few extra bucks, but it won't matter. Unlike other gourmet burgers that cost the same for a half-pound of Angus chuck drizzled in exotic toppings, the chuck at Mesa comes from the reputable Niman Ranch, home of happy, grass-fed cows. You will taste the difference. You'll bite into a burger that's the opposite of hormone-treated,… More >>
  • Best Build-Your-Own Teeny-Tiny Gourmet Burger

    Bouchees Bistro at Smooth's - CLOSED

    If White Castle suddenly went gourmet, it might look something like this: A tiny, cloud-like bun cradling a juicy little mound of steaming beef, turkey or ahi tuna, as well as any of a range of tiny toppings—sautéed onions, avocado, gruyere cheese, roasted tomatoes, garlic pickles, red peppers—and a dollop of feisty aioli or a creamy mayonnaise infusion. Thankfully, this… More >>
  • Best Hot Dog

    The Walkin' Dog

    Hot-dog vendors have been outlawed in LA. A shame for them, but lucky us: We still have one in Ken Morrone. But to call him a hot-dog vendor would be insulting. He pushes no cart. His preferred cooking apparatus is a full-on gas grill, which he sets up in front of the REI in Santa Ana for his weekend backyard… More >>
  • Best French Fries

    Andrei's Conscious Cuisine & Cocktails

    Sorry to burst your bubble: Most restaurants use frozen fries. Most fast-food joints do (with the exception of In-N-Out). But we mean real, sit-down places that you'd expect to make fries from scratch. Even Thomas Keller, whose Bouchon is set atop the Venetian in Las Vegas, admits to using frozen spuds for his pommes frites. Consistency, he says, is the… More >>
  • Best Pizza

    Pizzeria Ortica

    The crust! Oh, the crust! Born from a 300-year-old starter, massaged by a knowing knead, then slid into an oak-burning oven to blister and bubble, the pizza at David Myers' Pizzeria Ortica makes you feel like you're tasting pizza for the first time—at least, pizza as it's meant to be. You notice its tactile sensibilities first. It's light yet extraordinarily… More >>
  • Best Pizza Deal

    Pizza Shack

    If Tuesdays are synonymous with cheap tacos, Monday's should belong to pizza, especially because of the large, one-topping pie that Pizza Shack offers at a discounted rate on that day. As of this writing, the price tops at $7.93 (tax included) between 5 and 9 p.m. for takeout orders at this cozy, no-frills mom-'n'-pop pizza parlor—the kind that offers a… More >>
  • Best Reason to Never Order From Papa John's

    Zpizza's Pear and Gorgonzola Pizza Rustica

    Sure, you're thinking, Zpizza is a chain. Well, yes, it is, but that chain did open its first restaurant in 1986 in health-conscious Laguna Beach. All Zpizzas are made from certified organic ingredients. And unlike the traditional, circular pizza pie, the rustica pizzas are shaped like Indian naan and, since they're much lighter on the cheese, are a lot healthier.… More >>
  • Best Coffee

    Lavazza at Finbars Italian Kitchen

    You might not think of Finbars Italian Kitchen as a great place to get a cup of coffee (more like a great place for an Italian dinner), but the brand they brew up is one of the finer joes around. It's called Lavazza, and it's been delighting coffee-lovers for more than a century with its deep, rich taste. While Lavazza… More >>
  • Best Boba

    Tastea

    You think you've got this whole boba thing figured out. It's not that mysterious, really. Big ol' cup of flavored iced tea, big ol' balls of tapioca, all sucked through a big ol' straw. But . . . hold on a sec—are the tapioca balls at Tastea actually green? Don't balk at the offbeat color; they're the perfect consistency: soft,… More >>
  • Best Dessert

    Koo's Catering Truck

    Way before food trucks were cool, there was Koo's Catering Truck. Parked outside Freshia, a Tustin Korean market, every Friday night, Koo's Catering Truck offers freshly made, piping-hot hodduk, which translates to hot rice cake in Korean. Hodduks may look like pancakes, but they're actually sweet rice cakes with gooey, cinnamon-and-walnut-filled centers. They're affordable at $1 each (or 11 for… More >>
  • Best Cupcake

    French's Cupcake Bakery

    Dreaming of a chocolatey wonder wrapped around a whole, tart raspberry and topped with sinfully rich ganache? How about the perfect blend of mocha, chocolate and chocolate chips, with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, a dusting of cocoa powder and the energy boost that can only come from a chocolate-covered coffee bean? French's Cupcake Bakery feeds your fetish with… More >>
  • Best Ice Cream

    Hans' Homemade Ice Cream

    It may be cash-only (boooooo!), but Hans' Homemade Ice Cream is well-worth a trip to the ATM. More traditional flavors are definitely up there—Swiss Orange Chip tastes like an orange Toblerone!—but it's the seasonal flavors that are really worthy: pumpkin, peach and even watermelon. Nothing's so sweet that it leaves a fuzzy coat on your tongue, but please take note… More >>
  • Best Gelato

    Café Lucca

    This small Tuscany-style café evokes an old-school, Italian charm. It may be the warm golden light or the murals of sunny Italy on the walls. Or it may be the gelato, one bite of which will make you want to head toward the nearest piazza. Made fresh every day with real fruit flavors, it is creamier, richer and more satisfying… More >>
  • Best Enduring Frozen-Yogurt Phenomenon

    Golden Spoon

    Since its founding in 1982, Golden Spoon has survived something like 26 separate frozen-yogurt crazes, including the most recent Pinkberry-Red Mango wars. And so, while its yogurt might be the blandest of all the chains, its cult is the strongest. Mention "Yogurtland" to any of the card-carrying 'Spooners (yes, they'll be carrying frequent-customer cards) spilling out of any of the… More >>
  • Best Steakhouse

    Stubrik's

    Bacon-wrapped filet mignon. It's as good as it sounds. Unless you order your meat "black and blue" style (stuffed with blue cheese and covered in gravy). Then it's even better.… More >>
  • Best Burrito

    Taqueria Tapatia

    In this world of rising tortilla prices, in this county of 11 p.m. restaurant closings, it's wonderful and comforting to know you can visit this longstanding SanTana standard and enjoy a massive, cheap burrito until 3 in the morn. But convenience isn't the only reason Tapatia's burrito stands above all. Savor the options—carnitas, al pastor shaved off a spit soaking… More >>
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